In June 2016, myself and a team from both the university of Exeter and Falmouth universities are planning on travelling over to Tanzania to carry out research, and improve the marine and shore life for the communities that rely on the Mikindani and Mnazi bays for crucial resources.
Without these resources the communities will struggle to survive and thrive.
The areas we are aiming to visit are some of the most diverse marine ecosystems not only in the Indian ocean but also in the world, but they are in trouble...
They are under threat from a variety of pressures both anthropogenic and environmental:
- Dynamite fishing- The people within the villiages surrounding these waters are extremely poor and value the economic rewards of using destructive practices such as dynamite fishing- this is exactly what it says on the tin it is practically placing dynamite into the ocean causing an explosion which will kill all of the marine life in the area. This practice does not discriminate and often kills marine mammals, sharks and amazing corals that have taken hundreds of years to grow.
- Non sustainable fishing practices- As previously mentioned, sustainible fishing is just not something that is thought about, causing extreme damage to ecosystems and leaving fishery stocks low for generations to come. If fisheries carry on unsustainibly it will result in a lack of food available to the people that inhabit the area.
- Natural gas mining- The methods used to extract resources such as natural gas are extremely damaging to the ecosystem which will again cause a dwinding of resources for generations in the future.
- Pollution-unlike in the U.K pollution caused by agriculture, fishing boats etc is not well regulated as the education is just not widely available- this will have a direct effect on the surrounding area.
- Invasive species- An extremely invasive sea star named The Crown of Thorns starfish is causing devastating harm as it feeds upon coral reefs, the only way to limit the damage they are causing is to try and remove this highly damaging species from the area.
Our plan is to not only carry out research of the environmental impacts but to provide a hands on approach to making a difference- we will provide education to the communities of the area in order to teach them about sustainible fishing practices in order to allow their children and their childrens childrens to protect and conserve the area.
Conservation of the area will also promote economic award for the area as they will be able to promote the area as an area of interest to scuba diving which will provide the local people with a more sustainible income.
The crown of thorns starfish will be controlled both by ourselves while we are out there using environmentally friendly practises but also teaching the local people of methods to control and remove the highly damaging species.
The project we are involved in will allow the area to be conserved and enjoyed in the future providing a home for amazing species such as whale sharks, large whale species, dolphins, along with providing food and a stable income for the people who rely on this area.
Please join me in making a difference, to both the people and the environment,